Thinking of Signing Up for a Race for the First Time?
Every runner and walker has been there: contemplating if they should commit and sign up for their first race. It’s an equally exciting and scary thought. Will you be able to complete the race or will you quit halfway through? Will people mock you because they know it’s your first race? What will happen to me on race day if I don’t stick with a training plan? What the heck is chip timing?!?
If you are thinking of signing up for a race, just do it. I will be the first to say you don’t have to sign up for The Great Pumpkin Run as your first race (but tons of people do!) Find a race that you think sounds fun, check to make sure it’s legitimate and has a good track record (no pun intended), and then commit yourself to it by securing your spot.
Once you’ve done that, consider the following as you prep for your first race:
Seriously. The running community is one of the best and they will support anyone that is trying to get out there and finish their first race. There are dozens of local running clubs and low-key meetup’s in most cities. Hit up your local running store to find out what’s out there and try to become active in their group runs. You will be blown away by the camaraderie and friendship!
TRAIN BUT DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT
You don’t have to follow some crazy 19-week training plan that has you waking at 4:30AM, doing 2.5 miles, then hitting the gym after work to do speedwork on the treadmill. Seriously, there are tons of online resources that have training plans fit for anyone. Find one that you know you can follow and don’t hit the ground running too hard (again with the puns!) If you miss a day or two, guess what: it’s not the end of the world. Have fun with your training, vary it up by running different routes/locations, and reward yourself! After a long workweek and hitting all of my running mileage goals, nothing tastes better than a little happy hour on the patio as a treat (especially if I can find a pumpkin beer!)
PREPARE FOR RACE MORNING
Once the big day arrives, breathe in. Most races are very well organized and will communicate with you ahead of time on what to expect, when to arrive, etc. Listen to them and enjoy the experience. You only have your first race once, so don’t let that fleeting moment escape you when you lace up and hit the course!